by Fiona O’Brien
Live commentary from the first semi-final of the Women’s Rugby World Cup in France. Ireland are looking to avenge their 17-10 defeat to England at Twickenham in this year’s 6 Nations, having beaten them 25-0 on home soil in 2013 to clinch the Grand Slam.
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18:50 By the way, scrum-half Rosser has been given the credit for the Ireland try.
Full-time England are in the final awaiting either France or Canada who play here next. Ireland will face the loser for a third-place play-off. Heartbreak for the side who done so well to get this far and the much-improved side will be relishing next year’s 6 Nations to get revenge. In the end they were dominated by a far better side who held them scoreless since their first converted try.
England substitution: Rochelle Clark for Sophie Hemming.
76:06 Muldoon kicks a hit and hope but Danielle Waterman gathers it easily and kicks into touch to push Ireland back again.
TRY!!! Burford chips towards the post and Packer just beats Natasha Hunt to tap the ball over the try line as the Irish defence were left sleeping. England are blood-thirsty now and look like they could score another couple. Ceri Large scores the conversion. England have 40 points now.
Ireland substitution: Laura Guest for Sophie Spence
71:57 Ireland have really struggled with territory in this half, which they had plenty of in the first to keep England at bay. Only eight minutes of play left now as England win a scrum just outside Ireland’s 22.
TRY!!! Substitute Marlie Packer drives her way past Victoria Fleetwood and stretches over Irish bodies for England’s fourth try. Large’s conversion must see her team into the final now. Ireland 7 – England 33
England substitution: Ceri Large for Katy Mclean and Claire Allan for Emily Scarratt
67:58 Sophie Hemming injury stops play again. England have a lineout in a dangerous area as time is running out for Ireland to mount a comeback.
67:10 Cantwell’s back on her feet to a huge round of applause from the packed stadium. She does however come off as a precaution for Hannah Casey. We still have no confirmation who got the try from Ireland’s maul early on.
67:03 It’s Scarratt again who breaks inside the Irish 22. Lynne Cantwell puts in a brave tackle and the Richmond centre needs immediate treatment from the force of it. Play suspended.
65:25 Ireland’s scrum half Tania Rosser makes way for Larissa Muldoon in an attempt to win back the advantage in the set plays.
Ireland substitution: Sharon Lynch for Ailis Egan.
64:37 Jenny Murphy makes a last-ditch tackle on the try line against an English back who claims they’ve scored. But her brave defending pays off and they win the scrum on their try line. Ireland breathe a sigh of relief as they win a penalty from a Laura Keates infringement.
63:10 England have the scrum on the 5m line now. They’re driving it toward the line.
England substitution: Rebecca Essex for Tamara Taylor and Laura Keates for Rochelle Clark. Marlie Packer for Margaret Alphonsi and Emma Croker for Victoria Fleetwood.
61:32 England are making this real end to end stuff, turning defence into attack through the pace of their centres. They’ve worked the ball up to Ireland’s 5m line now.
60:06 Ireland growing in confidence now, they win a penalty from the line-out and kick it right into the corner for another line out. England however, win possession back again. Scarratt is pushing the ball up the pitch again.
59:03 Ireland get their first quality chance of an attack in a while with a penalty inside England’s half. Briggs puts it out for a line out near England’s 5m line.
England Substitution: Natasha Hunt for La Toya Mason
TRY!!! TV judges that Wilson did not touch the side-line and she is awarded the try. Scarratt steps up for the conversion but it fades right. England go 26-7 in front.
57:04 Number 8 Sarah Hunter who has been brilliant behind the scrum drives the ball right once it falls loose. Matthews offloads to Mclean, who in turn times her pass to Wilson expertly. Wilson just had to use her momentum to carry the ball over the try-line. It goes to the TV Match Official.
54:56 England have a scrum just outside Ireland’s 5m line.
51:55 The difference between the two sides at the moment is from set plays. England are putting immense pressure on the usually solid Irish scrum, and Ireland, who have been so dominant in the line-out in their previous three matches, are starting to concede a lot of easy ball to their opponents. England appear to be in complete control at the moment.
49:44 Ailis Egan picks up loose ball and passes to Alison Miller, but the English defence catches up with her and she concedes a penalty for holding on.
46:59 O’Brien is off for Fleming and former Parnells GAA player Jenny Murphy comes on for Davitt. She has proved herself a real impact sub in the World Cup so far and will be relied on to make a difference here as Ireland trail by 14.
46:07 Rachael Burford breaks the line from the centre of the park, and makes a perfectly timed offload to Scarratt. Cantwell pounces on the dangerous centre to prevent a try. But she steps up for another three points in front of the post. England lead Ireland 21 to 7 points now.
44:01 Ireland win a penalty kick deep in their half to ease pressure from England who have started this half much the same way they finished the last.
41:28 We’re back for the second half. England scrum from an Irish line out.
H/T Note: We still don’t know who scored that confusing initial Irish try. As soon as there is confirmation we’ll let you know.
HALF TIME SCORE: Ireland 07 – England 18
40:00 England win a penalty in Ireland’s half. Sloppy penalty to give away on cusp of half-time with no chance to recover and the accuracy of Scarratt again means that England are 11 points ahead at the break. Ireland 7 – 18 England
38:50 Niamh Briggs makes an uncharacteristic error when she misses touch with her penalty kick. It comes back for an ENglish scrum on the half way line.
37:40 England are playing with a lot more confidence now, as they know they have Scarratt to tear up the midfield. Ireland will be praying for the half-time whistle, but with only eight points between the sides they only need to return to their form of the opening 15 minutes.
TRY!!! England switch play to the right wing where Katherine Merchant was waiting to carry the ball over the line. Emily Scarratt scores the resultant. Ireland 7 : 15 England
34:35 Emily Scarratt, yes her again, breaks on the left wing past the Ireland 22, and only for Baxter bringing her to ground she would have scored a try.
33:08 Ireland go behind by a point as the trusty boot of Emily Scarratt gives her side an 8-7 lead.
32:27 Tania Rosser puts the ball into the scrum for Ireland. England drive it right back to win a penalty. Emily Scarratt has a chance to put her side ahead for the first time.
27:20 Confusion with each of the tries as was very difficult to see the ball go over the try line for the Irish try, and the ref seemed to award an Irish penalty for the English attempt. The Irish players were even celebrating their defensive skills before Clarke was awarded her score. Very physical and open game from the two sides so far.
TRY!!! Hunter stretches after an intensive 5 minute period of pressure from England. Rochelle Clarke picks up to score the try. Emily Scarratt misses the conversion. Ireland are still ahead Ireland 7, England 5.
24:08 Baxter catches a looping ball in the left corner of the field, but Wilson pushes her into touch for an English line out 5 metres from the try line.
22:22 Tamara Taylor flicks ball to Wilson on the left wing but she runs into green shirts.
21:03 England have forced the ball inside Ireland’s 22 metre line in their 9th phase.
19:49 This is the 20th encounter between these two sides. England have won 18 of them.
19:24 Alsion Miller gives away a soft scrum with a knock-on.
17:52 Briggs scores the resultant conversion for her 27th point of the World Cup. Ireland 7, England 0
TRY awarded for Ireland!!! Ireland 5 – 0 England
15:26 Ball goes down on try line. Ref asks TV officials if there’s any reason NOT to award a try
14:25 Ref calls it back for a penalty. England not rolling away from the tackle. Ireland go for line out to go for the try.
13:32 Heather O’Brien has the ball in Ireland’s 11th phase just a metre from England’s try line. They are really trying to slow the game down now.
12:33 Ireland continue to make ground, albeit inches, but England don’t look panicked and are hitting every back as soon as the ball is in hand.
11:06 Ireland working the ball along England’s ’22’, but the English forwards aren’t letting anything through yet.
07:43 Margaret Alphonsi who made 29 tackles against Canada forces penalty from Ireland.
07:00 Emily Scarratt nearly breaks the Irish line with Kay Wilson to her left on the wing, but Ashleigh Baxter recovered well. Penalty won as England held on to the ball too long.
04:00 England put pressure on straight away and win line-out from Niamh Briggs’ desperate clearance. Ireland win another scrum from the line out.
02:50 Good spell of possession from England and captain Katy Mclean attempted a chip and chase that resulted in a knock on deep in Ireland’s half for the scrum.
01:56 England have regained possession and Sarah Hunter works the ball into Ireland’s half.
00:41 Ireland have their first attacking opportunity with a scrum inside England’s half after great defensive work on the ground.
Match time: 00:04 And it’s off, this could be coach Philip Doyle’s last game in charge of the girls in green as is retiring after this World Cup. He has been involved with women’s rugby for over 20 years.
16:58 Niamh Briggs will have a chance to catch up with Scarratt. The full-back was rested in Ireland’s last game against Kazakhstan but managed four successful penalties, a try and four conversions in her two matches before that leaving her on 25 points so far.
16:56 Teams are on the pitch for their anthems, Ireland’s Call up first
16:49 Megan Mutrie, former Canada international, is on the Sky panel and has said that current form could overpower the historical dominance of England – who have won six of the last nine 6 Nations championships.
16:46 Coverage has just started on Sky Sports 4
16:45 Ireland are going to have to do their best discipline-wise to thwart the kicking power of England’s centre Emily Scarratt. She has achieved a 100% success rate in their past two matches. Apart from missing four try conversion attempts in their first match against Samoa, Scarratt has successfully kicked four penalties, 13 conversions and scored a try against Samoa herself for good measure, bringing her World Cup tally to 43 points so far.
16:00 With just an hour to go here are the full starting line ups for both teams:
Ireland v England
Niamh Briggs (UL Bohemians) 15 Danielle Waterman (Bristol)
Ashleigh Baxter (Belfast Harlequins) 14 Katherine Merchant (Worcester)
Lynne Cantwell (Richmond) 13 Emily Scarratt (Lichfield)
Grace Davitt (Cooke) 12 Rachael Burford (Thurrock)
Alison Miller (Portlaoise) 11 Kay Wilson (Bristol)
Nora Stapleton (Old Belvedere) 10 Katy Mclean (Darlington)
Tania Rosser (Blackrock) 9 LaToya Mason (Wasps)
Fiona Coughlan (UL Bohemians) 1 Rochelle Clarke (Worcester)
Gillian Bourke (UL Bohemians) 2 Victoria Fleetwood (Lichfield)
Ailis Egan (Old Belvedere) 3 Sophie Hemming (Bristol)
Sophie Spence (Old Belvedere) 4 Tamara Taylor (Darlington)
Marie Louise Reilly (Old Belvedere) 5 Jo McGilchrist (Wasps)
Paula Fitzpatrick (St. Mary’s) 6 Alex Matthews (Richmond)
Claire Molloy (Bristol) 7 Margaret Alphonsi (Saracens)
Heather O’Brien (Highfield) 8 Sarah Hunter (Lichfield)
Sharon Lynch (Old Belvedere) 16 Emma Croker (Richmond)
Fiona Hayes (UL Bohemians) 17 Laura Keates (Worcester)
Siobhan Fleming (Tralee) 18 Rebecca Essex (Richmond)
Laura Guest (Highfield) 19 Marlie Packer (Wasps)
Larissa Muldoon (Bristol) 20 Natasha Hunt (Lichfield)
Jenny Murphy (Old Belvedere) 21 Ceri Large (Worcester)
Hannah Casey (Saracens) 22 Claire Allan (Richmond)
15:40 Ireland revert back to the same team they beat New Zealand with, having made ten changes for their final Pool game versus Kazakhstan.
15:38 England have made six changes to the team that faced Canada. They welcome back captain Katy Mclean, scrum-half La Toya Mason, prop Sophie Hemming, hooker Victoria Fleetwood, second-row Joanna McGilchrist and Kay Wilson on the wing.
15:06 England progressed to the semi-final after topping Pool A, but only after a final game scare against Canada who they only managed a 13-13 draw against. Canada took the highest runner-up spot ahead of New Zealand, and go on to face top a top seeded France side in the second of the semi-finals.
14:37: There’s Irish links in the England squad too, Natasha Brennan’s parents hail from Kilkenny and Derry. Read our article on her here.
14:20: The team’s incredible feat in becoming the first ever Irish side to beat New Zealand (including in men’s rugby) is made all the more impressive when you learn that the Black Ferns have claimed the past three World Cups – with all of those finals won over England.
14:10: The Irish starting fifteen have two UK-based players; Claire Molloy, who plays with Bristol, and Lynne Cantwell who plays with Richmond. Two of the named replacements, Larissa Muldoon and Jenny Murphy also have links in Britain. Check out Sean Moriarty’s article on the British links in the Irish squad here.
14:00 With two hours to go, take a look at our gallery documenting Ireland’s journey in the tournament so far: